The worst lyrics ever have to be “We Are The World.” As far as I remember, every line in the song is a lie. Maybe there are a couple of mere bland statements, it’s been a while and it can never be too long, but anyway it’s close. I won’t inflict it on you. All I remember at this late date is “We are the world” – no you’re not, you’re a collection of pop stars. “We are the children” – I don’t hear any kiddies in there, maybe you could have flown some in from Africa. To meet your wonderful selves, the ones who “make a brighter day.” Somehow it didn’t work out that way.

I don’t care about lyrics because wopbopalubopawopbamboom is good lyrics. But when you hear bad lyrics blaring that’s another story. Lucky for me I can’t understand a lot of them. Usually I don’t want to know what the singer is saying. I’m fine with I love you so never let you go. Please come back. Come on come on let’s do the go somewhere and fuck.

It’s not that I don’t like good lyrics, it’s that if they try to be good they must actually be good. I love the words to Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, and I would play it for you, except that the only Dylan version I can find is again too painful to dump on you, you a busy guy/gal and all. But ya know, I’ll post it to illustrate how a great lyric can be destroyed by the vocals. The wedding band behind him doesn’t help either:

Sorry. That is atrocious, from the big star Bob, who won’t allow his songs on youtube because I guess he doesn’t have enough money. Always fighting for justice that Bob.

There are some great picture-painting lyrics. Some go back a long way, like to 1936. Bryan Ferry at his best:

There, that makes up for Dylan. Sublime kitsch. Ferry covered “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” on the same album, a delicious juxtaposition with “It’s My Party” and of course “Sympathy for the Devil.”

Ferry is a great lyricist. This is a song in danger if falling down the memory hole it seems to me, one of Roxy’s best:



5 thoughts on “Lyrics

  1. Now here’s a refreshingly good Remnants article!

    “These Foolish Things” is proof that not all great songs are loud and fast (although most are). Forgot how much brain time I spent over the years rehashing that great handclap/fingersnap background part.(Now I’ll think about it again for the next three weeks.)

    Gonna see Ferry for the first time in October on my birthday at the Tower in Philly. Yeah, I know he’s old and it won’t be Roxy or the Ferry in this video, but it ain’t quite the Rolling Stones in a football stadium either. Wish I could write the set list.

  2. Nothing worse than a really bad, forced lyric. They can stick with you as long as the good ones. After reading this article I was immediately reminded of one that would be on my own personal “Worst” list. It comes from Sir Paul McCartney’s “Pipes of Peace” album. The track is “The Other Me” (had to look it up – but remembered the album it was from) and the track starts out with this opener – “I know I was a crazy fool for treating you the way I did
    But something took a hold of me and I acted like a dustbin lid”

    And it basically never recovers from there……

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